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Interesting Chinese History Stories

1.

Loawnu the Wise Woman

 Once upon a time, a long time ago, in Xia times, there was a young, wise woman named Loawnu. She was very young to be the village wise woman. Still, the people in the village trusted her. If you had a problem, everyone knew you took it to Loawnu.

 One day, the sky overhead darkened. The wind picked up and blew wildly. Several young children ran up the hill to Loawnu's home, dragging a basket behind them. The basket was overflowing with the remains of blue flowers that had been yanked by the wind from the earth.

 "The sky has fallen," they screamed at Loawnu. "The sky has fallen!"

 The children knew this was a very bad time for this to happen. Theirs was the village selected by many others to host this year's Spring Festival. It was quite an honor. The village would be disgraced without a sky. The children were too young to find husbands and wives at the Festival. But their older sisters and brothers had been talking of nothing else.

 Loawnu sent the children back down the hill to search for all the pieces of the sky. They tried their best, but the children were worried. The wind had blown everything everywhere. What if they had missed some pieces?

The next day, the children ran outside. With great relief, they looked up at a bright blue sky. That night, when they looked up at the sky, they could not believe their eyes. The sky had always been dark at night. Loawnu had patched the sky with bright, twinkling lights, just in time for the Spring Festival.

2.

The True Story of Mulan

Once upon a time, a long time ago, there lived a girl in ancient China named Mulan. Mulan's father was a retired general. He had come home sick and frail. He was too old to fight, but not too old to teach Mulan how to ride a horse and use a sword. Girls usually did not learn these skills. But Mulan's father believed everyone should know how to fight, even girls.

One day, the government officials sent warriors to Mulan's village. War was coming. Men were needed for the army. The military leader of the group posted a list of names in the village square. Each name represented one volunteer, one man from each family.

Mulan saw her father's name on the list. She knew her father would never survive another battle. Mulan's brother was a young child. There was only Mulan who could take her father's place. But the military did not take girls as replacements for fighting men.

Quietly, the next morning, before her father could report for duty, Mulan stole his armor. She disguised herself as a man. She reported for duty. The warriors accepted "him" in her father's place. Later that day, as the all men taken from the village marched away, Mulan saw her father, standing by the side of the road, shaking his head in confusion. He had reported for duty, but was told he was not needed. That made no sense to him. He had not yet returned home. He did not know that Mulan was missing.

Mulan was very careful over the years. No one ever suspected that she was a girl. When the war was over, Mulan received a special award from the emperor himself for her outstanding courage. The emperor gave her a horse and a bagful of wealth, and wished her a safe trip home.

Her family greeted her with joy. Her brother was delighted with gift of her military clothes. He dressed in them immediately. Mulan dressed once again in the clothes of a woman. That evening, Mulan and her family gathered together to watch the sunset.


3.

Nian, the Horrible Monster

A long time ago, there was a monster named Nian. Nian loved to visit a little village in China each year, and scare everybody he saw. He thought that was great fun. He liked to do this just as the new year began, to remind people that Nian was still around. Each year, after scaring all the people, could hardly wait for the new year to roll around, so that he could scare them again.

This probably would have gone on forever. But one day, just by luck, one of the villagers was wearing a red tunic. When Nian jumped out to scare him, Nian took one look at the red tunic and ran away. He startled the villager so much that the villager dropped the heavy metal bucket he had been carrying. The bucket bounced down the hill behind Nian, hitting every rock in its path. It made a horrible noise. Nian looked fearfully over his shoulder, and began running even faster.

The villager told everyone of his fabulous luck. His red tunic had scared Nian. And the noise of the bucket had sent him running away. This was good news. All year long, the villagers prepared. When Nian appeared the following year, everyone in the village ran for the red banners and the loud rattles they had made. They shook their rattles and waved their banners. And Nian ran away. The villagers never saw him again.

That's why people in China believe the color red signifies luck, and why all the children and many adults shake rattles and light firecrackers and make all kinds of noise on Chinese New Year's eve. It's to scare away evil spirits, and even Nian, just in case he's still hanging around.

 

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